Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Check-in

  1. After yesterday’s inspiring post about getting back on track and the writing improving, I was a total slug. Stared at my WIP for 3 hours, through 2 cups of tea, and 4 magazines (which is what I flip through sometimes when I am stuck) and wound up with a whopping 153 words.  Shocking and efficient.  :snort:  I need to do some GMC work on my short story before I move forward.  Which I totally planned to do yesterday, but I kind of didn’t get around to it.  Instead, I hit the grocery, the butcher, took the girls to the dog park, and then napped for a solid 2 hours before throwing together a fantastic dinner of ribeyes with sauteed mushrooms and roasted garlic mashed potatoes.  Food of the gods, I’m tellin’ ya.  Then hubs and I had a romantic comedy night.  Can’t say I feel guilty.
  2. We are embarking on an experiment in our household. After reading Kristen Lamb’s recent post, I harbor a strong suspicion that my husband may be gluten intolerant.  A LOT of the symptoms fit.  Since it certainly won’t kill us if we’re wrong, we’re going gluten-free for a week to see what happens.  Since it takes 3 days to get it out of your system, a week should be adequate time to get it out, then reintroduce it at the end to see how he feels.  If, as Kristen says, he feels like he’s been hit by a Mack truck, then that’s good enough evidence for me to make some fairly radical changes.  If anybody has some good resources on that front, please leave them in comments.
  3. This week we’re coming up on the final installment of Forsaken By Shadow for Free Fiction Friday. I don’t really have any way of measuring the success of this little experiment, but I definitely have no regrets.  It’s a means for people to try my work without risk.  As far as I’m concerned, since this is a long term career plan, that’s not a bad thing.  Eventually I’ll have more titles out for them to buy.  Promo, in my mind, is all about experimentation and trying new stuff until you find what works for you.  Like diets and lifestyles.
  4. So I’ve noticed something since I cut back on reading blogs. Of the ones I do read–other than those of my close writer friends I follow so I can track their progress–they are all starting to sound the same.  Want to get published [traditionally or indie]?  You gotta do x, y, z [even if the methods are somewhat different].  Cue inspiration or depressing stats.  Cue bashing of the opposing method.  Seriously.  It’s like we’re all running out of stuff to say.  But, hey, it takes less time out of my day!  I think I’m going to start dipping back into books on craft.  I’ve been meaning to read John Truby’s Anatomy of Story for two years now.
  5. In a bit of random, earlier this week I saw someone post a review where they thought that Forsaken By Shadow was a YA and rated it lower because of the language. I wasn’t rude or anything, but I did post a clarifying comment to her review mentioning that it was definitely NOT a YA and had never been marketed as such.  She was lovely and raised the rating!  Apparently she had first heard of the book on a YA forum, so that’s where the confusion occurred.  I was still pretty baffled that ANYBODY could think FBS is YA.  I mean, the hero and heroine are late twenties, early thirties.  To my mind, that automatically disqualifies it from the YA category.  I mean, the hallmark of YA is that the main characters are teens, right?  But hey, whatever.  She liked the story. 🙂
  6. And finally for my ROW80 check-in. Since I got home on Tuesday, the week has been all about playing catch up.  Wednesday I was brain-dead and didn’t write.  I did write over 800 words on Thursday and Friday respectively, and my piddly 153 Saturday.  I’m not unhappy with that.  I also caught up on grading, laundry, grocery shopping, menu planning, and organizing life for a very busy upcoming week at the Evil Day Job, so I feel pretty good that my head will be screwed on straight for the week ahead.  Today’s plan is to do that GMC work on the short story and get to the housecleaning.

17 thoughts on “Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Check-in

  1. What’s GMC? Because all I think of is General Motors Corporation and I’m 98% sure that’s not it.

    I think you’re right about the blogs – could it be that that’s what the readers want to know about, rather than what the writers want to write about? I don’t have a blog and I’m not a published author, but I know if I was writing a blog it would mention things like how useful sick leave is (provided it’s for a dodgy back and not throwing up) for upping your writing output, IF you’ve got the self-discipline; how to get the self-discipline; how do you get your characters beyond exciting chapter 3 through the “Great Swampy Middle” (as Jim Butcher calls it); how to cope with all these published authors going around being published and so in-your-face about it too (JUST KIDDING)… Maybe the bloggers aren’t blogging for themselves so much as their perceived audience… Which is a pity because personally I’m interested in hearing how published authors also sit at their computers trying to mentally beat their characters into submission while the characters just laugh and sit back, light a cigarette and make small talk…

    So thanks for this post! A blog I enjoy reading, because it deals with the creative (and at times not so creative) process which is really what writing’s all about. Sure, I want to get published as much as the next person, but I’ve read so much about How To… Now I have finally realised the first stage is to actually write a really good book. And in order to make it really good, first I have to write it…

    • GMC is Goal, Motivation, and Conflict, which is a fabulous and must have craft book for writers by Debra Dixon. I’ve got a link to it on my Recommended Reads page up there in the nav bar. It helps TREMENDOUSLY with character arc and such.

  2. There are three blogs I regularly read specifically to learn stuff or be inspired in some way: Storyfix, Warrior Writers, and The Newbies Guide to Publishing. The small handful of blogs I read beyond that are for personal reasons, and it seems to be mostly writers following writers around. It can get pretty homogeneous.

  3. Author Kristen Lamb

    Make sure you are GF, though. They hide it in A LOT of places. Anything by Mission is GF. Stick to meats, veggies, sweet potatoes. Tinkyada is the BEST GF pasta and they sell it at Wal Mart here, so if yours doesn’t have it, they can get it. DeBolles pasta is good, but you have to watch it or it will fall apart. Bertolli’s organic marinara is GF.

    The fries at Chik-Fil-A are GF. You can also have the chili and baked potato form Wendy’s. Hubby told me Subway now has GF bread for sandwiches. Be careful of lunchmeats, though because they hide gluten as a filler. Soy sauce is another place they hide it. If you want chips just go with a Misson Corn Chip or a basic potato chip.
    I eat a lot of Mexican food and Mediterranean. Try to buy food that have simple labels. If a 10 year old can read the ingredients, you should be okay.

    The food industry uses gluten as an appetite stimulant and flavor enhancer so they hide it under all kinds of chemical names and law does not require them to tell you it’s in there. Kraft is a great company. They will plainly state any potential allergens in their foods on the labels.

    Salad dressings are almost always loaded with gluten. I use olive oil and seasoning salt on my salads. Also, if hubby like blue cheese, all blue cheese has gluten except Danish blue cheese.

    I am going to send you an e-book I wrote about gluten here in a sec. The doctors nearly killed my neighbor telling her she had diverticulitus. She had been in and out of the doctor’s for three years having painful test after painful test. They kept telling her to eat more wheat, that she wasn’t getting enough fiber. I butted in and told her to go GF. She hasn’t had a gastric issue since and she has lost weight and looks ten years younger,

    One of the ways I realized I was allergic to wheat was that every time I did Atkins, I dropped weight and felt amazing…until it came time to add back the carbs. Then I felt like crap and my weight all came back. The carbs weren’t the problem. It was that I was adding back wheat…a piece of toast. A cup of pasta.

    I hope this helps. You guys should feel better anyway because gluten is a really tough protein to digest and it takes a lot of your energy. Also because it always digests ineffeciently, you get bloated and lethargic. Eat a plate of pasta and tell me you don’t want a nap, LOL.

    Best of luck!

    • I am a primarily from scratch cook to begin with, so if this does turn out to be the case, it will be easier on us than it would on many other people who don’t cook. It was the Atkins thing that really flagged for me. Didn’t work at ALL for me (I felt lik a$$ the entire time such that 3 weeks in, he went and bought a loaf of bread, came home and shoved it at me, “EAT!”), but he felt fantastic, dropped a huge chunk of weight, and then of course gained it all back once we added carbs (and therefore gluten) back to our diet. That was the last time he dropped any significant weight. Since then we’ve done Southbeach, Sonoma, Weight Watchers, straight up calorie counting–all of which worked just fine for me, but didn’t do diddly for him. I am so so so glad you made your post because I really think that you’ve probably solved the mystery!

  4. Author Kristen Lamb

    I know you seem unaffecteed, but if you can, try Ezekiel bread. The food manufacturers, once they realized the addictive properties of gluten, partnered with the farmers to engineer wheat that is 12X higher in gluten than wheat in the Biblical form. Ezekiel bread is like bread back at the dawn of agriculture and it is easier on the system.

    I really hope I have. He can have carbs, just target gluten. If he hits a plateu, pull back on dairy. Casein is a similar protein. Go with goat’s milks/cheeses instead (lower in casein). Okay, I am finished with breakfast. Gotta go find that file for you and please let me know how he fares, :D.

    • Where do you find Ezekiel bread? Mostly I wind up baking my own. HUGE fan of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day and also have Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, which has a whole chapter of gluten free bread recipes. I will be interested to see how those turn out.

  5. Author Kristen Lamb

    Usually health food stores, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Central Market. I have seen it at Tom Thumb. It’s in the freezer case. If your grocery store doesn’t have it, see if they can order it.

    If you already make your own bread, then ur ahead of the game ;). I don’t because I also do have to watch my carbs. I love them and would live on bread, but I have to limit it.

  6. You may want to try your local health or organic food store. Ours has lots of GF products and also recipe books for cooking that way. They even have GF entrees in their small restaurant. My daughter has a friend who has to eat GF, and since my kitchen isn’t, we always buy prepared meals for her there when she sleeps over. Win-win. 🙂

    • Yeah that will be the thing. We live in a small town that HAS no health or organic food store. If this does wind up being the case, I’ll be definitely focusing my food blog more on how to go gluten free when you DON’T have access to anything but Walmart and Kroger.

      • I asked my friend and she recommends starting with The Gluten Free Kitchen by Roben Ryberg. I look forward to reading your food blog.

  7. I suspect you’ll find your hubby is GF-Atkins always works great for me until I add the bready carbs back and then I feel sick. Develop an affinity for sweet potatoes, it cuts down on the loss of bread sadness. 🙂 Good luck with your experiement!

    Good for you for calling out the YA review. This happens to me all the time and I wonder if I should start explaining that DoS and Rebellion are not YA because some have treated it as such.
    Yay for having no guilt about getting life things done! Sometimes our brains need a break from writing.

  8. Our Kroger has Ezekial bread in the freezer section with other vegan/vegetarian items. Even when I was friends with my bread machine, I used to buy the pre-made whole grain organics because it was so hard to get the chemistry right homemade.
    I’m with you on the blogs and the boards. I am trying to stick to happy, healthy and upbeat.

  9. Good luck on your gluten experiement. It’s a good thing you do cook instead of buying a lot of processed food. There’s all kinds of yucky stuff in that. I’m really going to try to eat better, too. I hope you hubby feels better.

    Congrats on getting someone to change a rating because of a misunderstanding. Some people actually are nice. :0)

  10. I really do think that, while books on craft help, the absolute only way to improve is trial and error. I can’t remember where I heard this quote or even if its accurate: “Write one story, it might suck. Write a hundred, the odds are in your favour.”
    It’s hard to keep up a high wordcount though… definitely feeling that.

  11. One question that I have for you is this:

    How does your story structure (Larry Briggs) and GMC change when you are doing a short story versus a novel?

    Thanks,
    Angeline Kace

    • I absolutely have no answer to the story structure in novel vs. short story because that still defies me. When I focus too much on story structure, the story gets too long to be a short story.

      But Goal Motivation and Conflict is always valid, no matter length, because at any given point in a story, the character has something they want (goal) for some reason (motivation) that they can’t have (conflict). That is the fundamental basis of plot.

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